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The Pilot Insure Bethlehem Speed Rally

The Pilot Insure Bethlehem Navigation Speed Rally – 8 June 2019 by Rob Jonkers

The South African Power Flying Association held a very successful Speed Rally at Bethlehem on 8th June 2019, this one being the 5th in the speed rally series started in 2018. This event is going from strength to strength, attracting more and more participants, this time round the first 30 entries were snapped up within hours and when the entries were increased to 40 to accommodate the local clubs, there were another 10 entries within days, where a waiting list had to be started.

The Pilot Insure Bethlehem Speed Rally 2019

Aircraft and Crew list 

Pilot Navigator Registration Aircraft
Eduard Scholtz  Johannes Streicher ZU-RVI Van’s Aircraft RV-10
Leon Joubert  Sandi Goddard ZU-LNC Lancair ES
Rhett Shillaw  Ryan Shillaw ZS-ECK Cessna 182H
Simon Abbot  Chris Shillaw ZS-ACA Cirrus SR22 G5
Quintin Kruger  Johan Whiteman ZS-FVV Piper PA-28-235C
Phil Wakeley  Mary de Klerk S-CNY Cessna 210
Eugene van Staden  Gary Whitecross ZU-IBH Airplane Factory Sling 4
Jaco Breytenbach  Neil Claassen ZS-SVW Cessna T210L
Ryan Beeton  Franz Smit ZU-EYP Van’s Aircraft RV-7
Sarel van der Merwe  Paul Potgieter ZU-ACI Piaggio P.166S
Jaco Goosen  Carel du Preez ZS-KNX Cessna R182 RG II
Mubarak Manaf  Alex Mubanzo Barichelo ZS-MMD Piper PA-34-220T
Ron Stirk  Von Hammon ZS-NBT Cessna A150M
Thys vd Merwe  Gerda Pienaar ZU-AFP Cessna 172D
Leon Bouttell  Martin Meyer ZU-FWS Evektor-Aerotechnik Harmony
Mobin Mohamed  Enock Musasizi Kazimba ZS-CBU Piper PA-28-180B
Ala Buserwil  Tintswalo Mabunda ZS-SMB Cessna 172K
Bennie du Plessis  Barry de Groot ZS-IJL Beech K35
Hendrik Loots  Jandre Loots ZU-IHK Airplane Factory Sling 2
Johan van Eeden  Cor Esterhuizen ZU-IHH Van’s Aircraft RV-7A
Jonty Esser  Jonathan Esser ZU-BLL Cessna 150C
Nicholas de Wit  Philip Jacobs ZU-MRW Van’s Aircraft RV-10
David Ross  James Braid ZU-JAR Airplane Factory Sling 2
Zwelihle Zondo  Madi Duba ZS-EKI Piper PA-28-140
Bob Cohoe  Johann van Niekerk ZS-OZI American Champion 7-GCBC
Wayne van Rooyen  Almero Calitz ZS-MOI Piper PA-32R-301T
Gerrit Coetzee  Liesel Coetzee ZU-BPI KFA Bush-Baby 500
Piet Meyer  Adrienne Visser ZU-DUU Jabiru J400
Eric Addison  Antoinette Addison ZU-LAX Van’s Aircraft RV-7A
Shaun Barron  Steven Watkins ZS-PLE Cirrus SR22 G2
W Uys  Franz Maeder ZU-FVA Jabiru J430
Riccardo Baruffa  Munaf Sayyed ZS-PED Cessna 172M
Adenola Daniel  Igun Nkosinathi Fanti ZS-MKZ Piper PA-28-160
Phillip Austin Shaune Fryer ZU-KGV Flight Design CTSW

The Bethlehem Club went out of their way to make the organizing an easy affair, with Club Chairman Philip Jacobs making arrangement for food on site, accommodation and providing local members to assist with officiating. Some of the officials arrived early Friday to prepare the course and finalize the entries and their handicaps, where test flights were done throughout the day. This event is one that is flown at full speed under handicap conditions, the course is around 125 nm long, has 11 or so turning points, with each turning point identified with a correct photograph. For this event the route was mostly to the south of the airfield hugging the Drakensberg mountains in places

The weather was absolutely pristine, with hardly any wind and no clouds throughout the day, with Saturday being predicted to be the same. As an institution as part of the Speed Rally is that Mary de Klerk provides a training session in the afternoon, but with many teams already becoming well versed in this, Mary provided some dedicated training to teams.

Thereafter at 18h00, Jonty Esser as the Race Master introduced Rob Jonkers who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turnpoints, distance, departure and arrivals protocol, and also how the scoring system would world work with expected weather conditions, which looked as if it would be good.

Then all the competitors were treated to a briefing on Steroids on Friday night with the Speed Rally Race Master Jonty Esser having set up a show for the teams, with a real life lights, camera, action sequence, where each team were introduced with their team theme song, handed their race numbers. Jonty also introduced the teams to the Speed Rally website where a Speed Rally ranking system was created, with team profiles and their leaderboard position. The evening ended with a braai hosted by the Bethlehem Aero Club, before retiring for the night.

For Saturday the briefing started at 8h00, which was a shortened version just to cover the basics of the route, radio procedures and weather. With the briefing over, teams prepared their aircraft, while the organisers got the papers ready. Each team would then receive an envelope with a map, turnpoint photos, a minute marker and a GPS logger to record their track. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags. For this event Century Avionics were on hand to also block off Aircraft GPS systems for those who volunteered.

The intent is that everybody uses the basic skills of navigation plotting and flying, and operate as a team in terms of cockpit workload, and with the course layout with short legs it for sure makes the crew resource work sharing all the more important. The idea would be that each crew would receive a pre-plotted map already complete with the route, turning points, headings, altitudes, where the map would not have any lat/long or grid references. This would be provided 20 minutes prior take-off to allow route orientation and the plotting of minute markers.

In this format, there are two objectives, fly against a pre-determined handicap speed for each aircraft, and fly the shortest route around the course which would consist of a minimum of 10 turning points, and any aircraft would be able to compete, from slower LSA aircraft to the fast turbo singles or twins. The idea would be to test the speed capability and navigation skills of each crew against each other, where the most accurate flying and turn performance management would win the rally.

Scrutineers Chareen, Lizelle, Ashleigh and Jan-Paul were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, and also handing out papers at the allotted time, and also checking the fuel tanks were full. To assist the teams at getting their take-off roll accurate, a starting colour panel was used, which was set up next to the start line on the runway by Chief Marshal Jacques Jacobs and Mauritz du Plessis, who would release them at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at their 20 minutes prior take-off time, and then taxi to the starting line within 10 minutes of take-off time. 1st take-off was at 10h20 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 10h45, with planned arrival at 11h30.

With all the competitors off towards the west, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turnpoints to contend with to give competitors a chance to always be aware of where they were, but some turnpoints were a challenge find, especially if the colour of the surrounding ground features had changes since the photos were taken. In general the competitors found the course difficult this time round, and this is visible in the results with many turn point misses, there will be a few improvements that will be made with planning a route. It appears that the final chicane turnpoint remained elusive for many.

At virtually exactly 11.30 the first aircraft over the line was the Sling of ZU-JAR, but unfortunately had missed two turnpoints, thus were out of the running as a winner. They were closely followed by the rest of the pack, all of the teams having arrived within 7 minutes.

After all teams having returned, bar a Sportcruiser that lost its propeller and had to do a forced landing, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, and with the new loggers were able to complete the scores by 2 pm, given that there was an increase in the number of competitors, whereby everybody were given their score sheets. After this there was prize giving, which first started off with showing some tracks of how many got lost around the course.

The overall winners in the best handicap speed were the team of Eduard Scholtz and Johannes Streicher ina RV10 ZU-RVI, in second place was Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard in a Lancair ZU-LNC, and in third place Rhett and Ryan Shillaw in a Cessna 182 ZS-ECK. The first fourteen placings were the only crews who managed a clean penalty free round.

The winners in the accuracy category were the team of Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer in a Evektor Harmony ZU-FWS, in second place was Quinton Kruger and Johan Whiteman in a PA28-235 ZS-FVV, and in third place Simon Abbot and Chris Shillaw in a Cirrus SR22 ZS-ACA.

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Many thanks to the Bethlehem Aero Club for hosting this fantastic event, the SAPFA team of Jacques Jacobs with the ground marshals, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk and Louna de Vos and Mauritz du Plessis doing the scoring with our handicapping guru Chester Chandler, Marc Robinson from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Chareen Shillaw, Lizelle Kruger handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering, Jonty & Lizelle for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event. Thanks also extended to Danie Heath of the ARCC who was our first port of call on the force landing of the Sportscruiser to get the Search and Rescue function activated and the link into the CAA, for sure at these types of events we need our guardian angels.

Also to the sponsors Pilot Insure, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, also to Pilot’s Post for sponsoring the team of Phil Wakeley and Mary de Klerk, and provided three key reasons for this, the first one being that the Speed Rally as a brand is seen as the future of competitive flying, second being that the Speed Rally brand will add value to our brand, third being that they believe that Phil and Mary are the perfect ambassadors for Pilot’s Post and they will carry our flag high.

ZU-LAX – taking the scenic route along the Drakensberg

One of the better tracks of the day – ZU-IBH

Final Overall Handicap Results Bethlehem 2019

Final-Overall-Accuracy-Results Bethlehem 2019

Final Overall Accuracy Results Bethlehem 2019

Final Overall Handicap Results Bethlehem 2019

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Middelburg Airweek & Airshow 2019

Middelburg Airshow 2019

The smell of Avgas, Mogas and Jet A1 filled the skies over Middelburg this past weekend with the first of two Mpumalanga Airshows to take place this year. The 2019 Middelburg Airshow returned this year after the planning phase taking place last year with the absence of the show. This year the organisers put together a major show with the Aero Club of South Africa having their Airweek and the highly anticipated Airshow.

Our team arrived at Middelburg on Thursday the 7th March, thanks to our aviation family Airshow friends “Just Love Mission” Little Annie the sole surving Antonov two on the Airshow circuit. We were extremely honored to be invited days before the show by Richard and Irene Lovett, organisers of past present and now future airshows at Middelburg Airfield. Our media liaison officer Mark Mansfield organized all our accommodation, once again treated to the hospitality of the Lovett Family. Mark also kept us up to date before and after the show with all necessary news updates.

Friday evening, we were treated to some early evening flying from Riaan Prinsloo, Ivan Van der Schaar and Juba Joubert in a Yak18T, Boeing Stearman and an Aerospatiale Gazelle in formation.

The Grasslands based Misasa Aerial Display Team-MAD microlights showed off their Led lights in close formation.

A number of aircraft flew in between Thursday and Saturday of the event.

Saturday morning the now exciting Speed Rally took place with some of the SAPFA members flying the speed navigation rally, which is similar to the fun rally’s we usually attend. Except that the rally is given a pre-determined handicap speed, based on a selected power setting to each aircraft.
Read more here on the Speed Rally

On show day, Hot Air balloons filled the morning sky above Middelburg. While some of the participating show aircraft made their way in from neighboring Gauteng airports and elsewhere.

A new plan at some of the airshows in South Africa this year is to have an afternoon show instead of the entire day having a full program with many repeats. This show had no repeats and a full program with no gaps in between.
A cavalcade of Trucks opened the show with Juba Joubert flying the Alouettes II above the line of trucks while Capital Sounds provided as always, the vibe to the Airshow circuits thanks to Brian Emmenis and his great team who put together sound and information on each act in the slot of the event.

The first of the processdings began with an Atlas Angel formally an Ex South Africa Airforce (SAAF) Kudu, used as a jump ship for the “Skydive Tandem Johannesburg” Delmas based parachute members and other members from neighboring parachute clubs.

Menno Parsons made a welcome back display in his P51 Mustang Sally, as the P51 had to have a major engine overhaul and was absent from airshows for a year. It was also a first to have a P51D at Middelburg Airshow.

The Just Love Mission Antonov 2 “Little Annie” with Jon-Marc Hill and Col Keith “Fulcrum” Fryer flew a fantastic display in the world’s biggest piston bi-plane. “Little Annie also raced a truck and decided to drop a number of marshmallows over the crowds of Middelburg. They’re surely know how to sweeten things up!

The Puma Flying Lions led by Scully Levin, Arnie Menageli and Sean Thakwray flew a three-ship display with the roar of the T6 Harvard. The Cows Pitts Specials had a synchro display with two aircraft displaying the colors of a good cause to the masses.
Captain Flippie Vermulen brought his Springbok Classic Air Beech 18, and showed off the classic early day propliner.

Dennis Spence had his team of the Goodyear Eagles with a full four ship display of all his Pitts S2Bs flown by Glen “Gringo” Warden, Nigel Hopkins, Johan Von Solms and Jason Beamish.

Nigel and Jason also flew the high energy aerobatic display of Team Extreme with Jason Beamish showing off his brand new Extra 330 at its first of many airshows to come. Pierre Gouws led the Raptor RVs with Nigel Hopkins, Trevor Warner and Ryan Beaton.

The main attraction of airshows has to always be the jets, this year we got to see Richard Lovetts L39ZU-IBN, David Laas Impala Mk1 ZU-IMP and Rand Airport based L29 ZU-AUX.

A new display was the hostage scenario where an Atlas Angel was taken hostage from terrorists and an Aerospatiale Gazelle came to the rescue with members of armed reaction forces. Juba Joubert also flew a solo display in an Aerospatiale Gazelle, his routine is very similar to some of the world’s present attack helicopter routines worldwide.


A gyrocopter and 2 Bathawks were put through their paces adding flavor to the ultralight aircraft on display.

The flying phase of the show was ended by a formation of the Puma Flying Lions led by the Springbok Classic Air Beech 18. A hot air balloon and fireworks ended the show, where all invited guests moved into the Lovetts Hanger for Gala evening and Price giving for the Speed Rally. The most scrumptious supper was awarded to us and many others. To all the sponsors, who made the show possible we thank you.

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But to the Middelburg Aero Club and to Irene and Richard Lovett we congratulate you on a fantastic event you have once again pulled off. Us as a team get highly emotional as your hospitality, your organization and there is so much more we can say. You guys are the best of the best. We thank you, we cannot wait for Aero Club 100 next year once again to be held at Middelburg Airfield. At what we have been told, it’s going to be massive.

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